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Staff Reviews

Montecristo Nicaragua Robusto Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

I’m smoking one of the most iconic names in the entire cigar world, Montecristo. Specifically, I’m indulging in the Montecristo Nicaragua blend in a Robusto. The brand’s roots date back to Cuba in the 1930s. Montecristo is named for the classic 1844 adventure novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, by French writer Alexandre Dumas. The novel was widely read by cigar factory lectors due to its popularity with cigar rollers. The legendary Torpedo-shaped Montecristo No. 2 is among most famous cigars ever created. Connoisseurs love both the Cuban and the Dominican versions. 

When the Cuban trade embargo took effect in 1961, the original makers of Montecristo cigars were determined to get their brand back in the hands of cigar lovers in the U.S. “Montecristo” cigars weren’t officially reintroduced in America until the 1970s when General Cigar sold the distribution rights for the brand. A new version of Montecristo was made in the Dominican Republic, which is legal to sell in the U.S. 

Today, the brand is owned and distributed by Altadis U.S.A., which also produces Cuban-legacy brands Romeo y Julieta, H. Upmann, Trinidad, and more for the U.S. market. Like many successful cigar brands made in the Dominican Republic, a Nicaraguan version of Montecristo is also produced. Nicaraguan Montecristo cigars are blended by popular boutique cigar-maker AJ Fernandez. A number of cigars blended by AJ have fared well with the critics. Let’s see how this Nicaraguan Montecristo performs in a chunky 5 x 54 Robusto. 

Beneath the cellophane is a true Nicaraguan Puro, meaning all the tobaccos in the blend come from a single country. Montecristo Nicaragua is cloaked in a buttery smooth, milk-chocolate-hued wrapper. Abundant notes of leather and wood with a touch of graham cracker come to the front following a clean cut and a few cold draws. 

Once I fire up, the first few puffs are effortless. Thick white clouds of smoke fill the room releasing hearty aromas of cocoa, coffee beans, and wood. During the course of the opening third, the flavor is reminiscent of a rich dessert. I can taste notes of dried fruit, cinnamon, and baked apple. 

Into the second third, the Robusto’s thick profile continues with an easy draw and leaves a tight ash, an indication the cigar has been flawlessly rolled. In true AJ Fernandez style, the Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos complement the wrapper perfectly to create a well-balanced medium to full-bodied blend. 

The final third opens with spicy bursts of chili flakes and cumin. The cigar’s zesty notes mingle nicely with its profile of cocoa and dried fruit. Together, they produce a real mouthwatering quality before a clean finish kicks in. Overall, the cigar leaves a bold, smoky, and savory impression that’s easy to revisit. 

After a solid 40-minute smoke, I have nothing but great things to say about Montecristo Nicaragua. It’s the outcome I expected, though, based on the many other cigars blended by AJ Fernandez I’ve had the pleasure to smoke. Not one has been a dud. As with other Montecristo cigars, the price tag is a bit high, but you get what you pay for. I bet we haven’t seen the last of the partnership between Altadis U.S.A. and AJ Fernandez. I expect more top-rated cigars to come from their ongoing collaboration. Give this one a shot in the meantime. Enjoy!

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